Thursday February 7th. Licensed to steal.

Written by Jack van Ommen on March 7th, 2013

I am totally fed up with my U.S. bank. In order to finance my extravagant life style I have to regularly pull €uroes from the wall with my Bank of America card. My bank card expired on February 28.  The replacement was mailed to me a month ago by my daughter, from the Virginia address I use for the bank business. It has yet to be found. I put a stop on the card and yesterday my daughter sent me the replacement. Every time I use the card the BofA charges me $5.00 plus 1% of the amount. So, for a $ 100 withdrawal they collect 6%.

With the upcoming repairs on the boat I will need to go to the wall more often and make more payments from my Euro checking account. In order to make deposits into my Euro account I have at times made wire transfers. But this is extremely costly since the bank will only transfer Euroes and the American banks charge a much higher exchange difference than the European banks and on top of it is a $50 flat charge. The alternative is to pull the Euroes from the wall, out of my BofA account, and then deposit the currency into my local account.  So, inspired by one of my frequent impulses of brilliance, I opened a US$ account with my local banker. Figuring that this way I avoid the BofA fees every time I pull money from the wall. Next I went online to make the Dollar transfer. After I was nearly done with the laundry list of questions, the web site closed. One more try. Then it tells me that I need to use my Safe Pass card, which turned out to have a dead battery. I get on the phone. After repeating my account number, bank card number, social security number, driver license number a hundred times to the automated answering service and to Desmond he tells me. “So sorry, our system is down, can you call back in an hour……”. So then an hour later I have to start all over with James and then I get the same excuse. I am by now getting slightly annoyed and I need to get to my choir practice. I try once more. I get Gail and she puts a stop on my dead battery Safe Pass and tells me to order a new one, and it is going to cost me something like $25 but if I explain the circumstances that I should be able to get a refund, since the battery is over three years old……..  Yes, sure Gail, I’ll just spend another three hours on the internet and telephone to recover $ 25 of your hard earned money.

Well, I just got online to order my new pass and here is what I get:
There was a problem processing your request.
  • Your access is restricted from viewing this material.

So, here we go again, another so many hours telephone session with the BofA (Bimboes of America…)

An hour and a half later: Well, why did not Gail tell me this? The reason I cannot order a Safe Pass is because I’ll have to have my replacement bank card. I was connected with the Travelllers service. They offered me a free courtesy emergency service that will make money available to me from my account through VISA or Western Union. The young man asked me, when I told him that I was in Holland: “In which country is Holland?”

Thank you for bearing with me. I may need to print this out and take this with me to the American consulate to get an emergency loan till I get my new Safe Pass…..



4 Comments so far ↓

  1. Henny Haars says:

    Hi Jack
    After reading your struggles with the banking world. I would suggest
    you put a water proof safe in your boat cabin and stash all your money in there.
    I feel bad for you that this stupid thing happened with the banks. Frustration must now be your
    favorite word.
    Hope you find a good sollution for
    this whole affair.

  2. Carolyn says:

    Oohhhh sounds familiar. I learned the hard way not to use a bank card to get cash to pay someone… they put that in as a “cash advance” which is not what I asked for. Lesson learned. Since then I just use my Columbia Bank debit card for everything…. charge is 1%. I just learned that my credit cards AND my other (credit union) debit card charge 3% for everything. So now I’ll stick with only my Col. bank debit card for everything. It pays to check all the banks’ policies and fine print! Hope you find a good solution!

  3. Carolyn says:

    I see Mark’s comment…. I also used my bank’s “bill pay” service last year and it worked fine… to keep up with bills at home. Also kept tabs on my account so I could see how much was actually taken out when I took out 200 Euros for example.

  4. Matthias says:

    I would ditch Bank of America and go with a more international bank like HSBC.

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